Collecting and maintaining accurate records of your capital assets can be a time-consuming and costly task. The right integrated asset tracking solution will give you firm control over your company’s valuable equipment. The goal of any robust system is to maximize the efficiency of your asset control and minimize the loss of your equipment.
Using the combination of mobile computers and asset management software, you will be able to speed up your audit tasks and track your assets in real time. This will allow you to be more efficient in your production planning and reduce downtime. The management software will also allow you to schedule the necessary maintenance or services for your equipment at the right times. With a complete solution including barcode/RFID printing technology, mobile computers and software, you can manage your assets accurately and efficiently.
What are the main benefits of an asset tracking system?
All companies have a collection of assets that they need to maintain. With the right solution in place, you can gain more detailed control of your assets and a better return on investment with the following benefits:
- Productivity – Collect data faster and in more detail.
- Accuracy – Eliminate human error.
- Compliance – Flexible reporting through more accurate records.
- Responsibility – Enforcing personal responsibility and accountability for the company’s assets.
What is asset tracking and management?
Each company uses hundreds of assets on a daily basis. An “asset” is anything that a company uses internally, such as computer equipment, office equipment, tools, etc. A properly integrated asset management solution can help your business accurately and efficiently track all of your company’s assets. Rather than wasting time searching for and replacing lost assets, you can keep track of all your valuable assets with a convenient, easy-to-use comprehensive asset tracking system that is managed regularly.
The first step in determining an asset tracking system is to understand whether you are dealing with assets or inventory. Assets are “permanent” objects that a company uses internally, such as computers, tools, or educational materials. Even if employees can borrow the object for a given project, or even use it at home, an asset ultimately belongs to the company and must be returned to it. An asset is always tracked as a single item. Even if you have 10 copies of the same PC or tool, you manage each instance as an individual item with its own barcode label or RFID tag. The main concern is to have accurate information about each specific item like location, condition, date of purchase, value, caretaker, last maintenance, etc.
Inventory tracking, on the other hand, refers to items that are sold, distributed, or otherwise consumed by a business. These “temporary” items include retail items and office supplies. In this case, you may have 100 staple boxes in stock and when you use one box, the tracked quantity decreases by one. You don’t care which specific instance was sold, but rather that one instance out of 100 was deleted. Ultimately, you want to know how much you have in stock and when to order more.
Inventory tracking and asset tracking
To get started, review your tracking needs using the table below to determine if you need inventory or asset tracking.
|Objects used internally, such as computers, tools and teaching materials.||–|
|Tracking the depreciation of business assets||–|
|Monitor the maintenance of the company’s equipment||–|
|Items are for sale or resale||–|
|Ability to track/track replenishment levels||–|
|Objects are “temporary” and/or often replaced, such as paper, pens and other consumables.||–|
|Employees can check objects at the entrance and exit||–||–|
Asset tracking software is the brain of any system because it is the source of all your asset information and determines how you interact with that information. Normally, you will run an instance of the software on a desktop PC, while mobile devices will have a simplified version of the software for the necessary functions in the field. Depending on your need for real-time or batch updates, some software will support one or the other. The desktop instance will contain the complete and detailed database of assets, allow label printing and run a variety of reports. Reporting is a very important aspect of any tracking software, as it will give you better visibility into your asset collection. Reports provide insight into when items need to be replaced or maintained and provide a general analysis of assets. There are many asset tracking apps out there and determining which one best suits your business needs is critical to getting a productive and useful system.
What should you consider when creating an asset tracking system?
To set up an effective and responsive asset tracking system, a few key questions need to be answered:
- How many assets do you need to track?
- What type of assets do you track?
- Where are the assets located? How many sites do you have?
- Are the assets already labeled? Will you be using barcode or RFID tags?
- Do you need real-time updates or can batch collection be used?
- What kind of relationship will you need with the system?
- How many users will you have? Desktop and mobile.
What are the components of an asset tracking system?
All asset tracking systems consist of three essential elements:
- Asset tracking software
– The software is the backbone of any system and determines the features and options available. The main concerns when making decisions are the level of detail of the reports available and the support for batch or real-time updates.
- Mobile computer
– Assets are spread throughout the company. A mobile device allows you to have all the necessary information and make changes on site. Depending on the robustness of your environment and budget, a wide range of devices can be used.
- Barcode/RFID printer
– All assets must have a unique identifier to be properly tracked. Barcodes are the simplest and most cost-effective option, but RFID tags offer additional benefits with wireless asset scanning and the ability to automate your entire process.